I often wonder why there is so much effort to find out if I like peanut butter and if I buy wheat grass seed online. I also wonder when Google knows I want brownie mix, 5lbs, at 3am Sunday morning, why is it our government cannot ascertain the real unemployment rate?
What else would motivate privacy violators than creating a new type of market exchange, trading your personal online data like baseball cards.
The Wall Street Journal dug in, ran some tests and this is the summary of their investigative findings on the business of profiling you:
- The study found that the nation's 50 top websites on average installed 64 pieces of tracking technology onto the computers of visitors, usually with no warning. A dozen sites each installed more than a hundred. The nonprofit Wikipedia installed none.
- Tracking technology is getting smarter and more intrusive. Monitoring used to be limited mainly to "cookie" files that record websites people visit. But the Journal found new tools that scan in real time what people are doing on a Web page, then instantly assess location, income, shopping interests and even medical conditions. Some tools surreptitiously re-spawn themselves even after users try to delete them.
- These profiles of individuals, constantly refreshed, are bought and sold on stock-market-like exchanges that have sprung up in the past 18 months.
Seems spying on Internet users spawned never ending middle men, all making money by peddling real time information about what you're doing and thinking at any moment.
The article shows they are even tracking on health and financial data. Many are hiring quantitative analysts, writing probability models, with insights, such as it's not what you know and do, but who you know. and hang out with...which determines if you will make that credit card payment on time.
Media6Degrees Inc., whose technology was found on three sites by the Journal, is pitching banks to use its data to size up consumers based on their social connections. The idea is that the creditworthy tend to hang out with the creditworthy, and deadbeats with deadbeats.
Right. It's not if you cut the check and paid the bill, it's all about who you hang out with. These people are writing their distorted social views of the world into software, putting a price tag on your head and auctioning you off like cattle.